HDS’s Survey Results
by Sandra Adair

Before I get to the results, I want to thank all the members who took the time to fill out the survey and mail it in. I believe that Bit and the rest of the board are very committed to making positive changes within HDS, and want to serve the membership the best they can. However, it is difficult to satisfy anyone’s needs when it is not clear what they are! This survey was the first step in opening the lines of communication between the board and its members. The board will be taking these results into consideration when making future decisions and deciding the direction of HDS. If you did not fill out your survey, and you either disagree with the results, or would like to share your input, please send it on. I will do another tabulation in a month or so to see if the results change any, and pass that information on to the both the board and you, the members. HDS is your club. Its time to share your questions, opinions and suggestions with the powers that be!

You and Your Horse

The majority of the surveys came from Adult Amateurs, with only one other Open rider beside myself, and one Junior. About 95% owned a horse, but a surprising 70% owned more than one. About 40% board their horse, 75% take lessons at least once a week, 60% ride in clinics at least twice a year, and 75% audit an average of 3 clinics a year. 60% show at both Schooling and Recognized Shows, with another 10% showing Recognized only. The participants have been riding an average of 23 years, with the numbers ranging from 4 to 54, and about half of that time has been spent riding dressage, ranging from 6 months to 35 years! Half of the riders are riding youngsters (age 5 or less), and the other half is riding the more seasoned horse (age 15 or over). Half the riders are riding Intro to First Level, but a third have ridden Third Level or above. About 25% rode warmbloods, with the DWB the favorite, and 40% rode either a Thoroughbred or an Arabian.

You and HDS

The majority of the participants liked the idea of an Annual Membership Booklet, and about half were interested in Informal Get-togethers, like Video Night. In terms of what they found important, the majority rated Educational Programs and the Newsletter at the top of their list. About two-thirds rated the Spring and Autumn Classic, Schooling Shows, HDS-hosted Championships, the Website and Scholarships as highly important. The Video Library rated fairly high, but most were not aware HDS even had one, and did not know how to access it. Less than half rated the Year End Awards Program very high, and although 75% had been to the Members Only Portion of the website, less than half of those found it very important. Suggestions for additional programs included adult camps, clinics with local trainers, more clinics with demo riders, more lectures, an Eckart Meyners clinic, test riding/improvement clinics, HDS-hosted schooling shows, and working student scholarships. The majority also wanted an annual membership roster published, and would be willing to receive the Newsletter electronically. Considering they voluntarily did the survey, it was not surprising that 80% had volunteered for HDS and would do so again! The most popular incentive was a limited time commitment, followed by meals, and then prize drawings. The current incentive program was low on the list, but a program to earn free entry fees was highly recommended. The comments here were clear: most just wanted to work with nice people, be treated with respect, and simply told “thank-you!”

Just for Schooling Show Competitors

These competitors attended an average of 4 shows a year and traveled approximately 50 miles to attend. Although 30% of the participants had earned an HDS Award, only 30% knew what scores were needed to win an award, or had ever submitted their scores. About half of those who compete at Schooling Shows were interested in Regional Schooling Show Awards, and were willing to pay an enrollment fee on average of $25. How can HDS improve schooling shows? Many asked for HDS-sponsored schooling shows, shows held on Saturday instead of Sunday, a stop to the escalating fees, and better and more consistent judging, particularly scores that are more in line with recognized show scores.

Just for Recognized Show Competitors

These competitors also attended an average of 4 shows a year, but traveled an average of 200 miles to attend. 50% tried to qualify for SWDC and had done so, and 25% tried for GAIC, and they also had done so. The majority did not show at Regionals if they were out of town, nor did they show at both if the championships were split. The vote was split 50/50 on whether HDS should host Regionals or hire a professional staff. How can HDS improve recognized shows? Friendly show secretaries and volunteers, reasonable scheduling, and more variety/better judges were suggested, but the overwhelming comment was “Lower the costs!”

Final Comments

The theme of these comments was consistent: money, money, money! “Why do dues keep going up?” “Why don’t HDS members get a fee break at HDS-sponsored shows?” “Recognized shows have become way too expensive to be fun anymore.” “HDS should be more interested in educating its members than having a bunch of money in the bank!” “More programs with reduced fees, less profit!” The big question: “What is HDS doing with all that money?!” The board will be reviewing the results of this survey at their next meeting, so look for the answer to this and other comments on the survey results in next month’s Newsletter. And don’t forget to voice your opinion- send in your survey!


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